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Etsy Lays Off Workers and Suspends Brand Marketing


EtsyEtsy has suspended brand marketing and announced layoffs that reduce its workforce by 22% since December. The news came in the form of a press release titled, “Etsy Sharpens Focus on Key Growth Initiatives,” in which Etsy’s new CEO Josh Silverman said the company will focus on the highest-impact initiatives in its core marketplace, while de-prioritizing other projects and streamlining resources.

Press release follows:

Etsy, Inc., which builds markets, services, and economic opportunity for creative entrepreneurs, today announced that it is sharpening its focus on key initiatives and realigning internal resources to pursue the highest-growth opportunities in order to deliver value to its stakeholders. Areas of prioritization include enhancing search and discovery, improving the buyer journey, driving frequency, maximizing the effectiveness of our marketing spend, and providing world-class seller marketing tools.

Josh Silverman, Etsy’s Chief Executive Officer, commented, “My conviction that Etsy has a unique opportunity within the ecommerce space has intensified during my initial weeks as CEO. Our vibrant community, strong brand affinity, 45 million listings, and ability to connect people through commerce provide us with a differentiated offering and solid foundation for growth. By focusing on our ‘vital few’ initiatives, we will be a more disciplined company that is better positioned to create the world’s most compelling buying and selling experience.”

We are realigning our resources to support these critical areas and enable faster execution. As a result, we are also reducing our headcount by approximately 140 positions, or approximately 15% of our total current workforce. This is in addition to the headcount reductions announced on May 2, 2017, bringing total eliminated positions to approximately 230, or an approximate 22% reduction compared to our headcount at the end of 2016.

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Josh continued, “In order to drive focus, we took decisive steps to double down on the fewest, highest-impact initiatives in our core marketplace while de-prioritizing other projects and streamlining our resources. Parting ways with our colleagues is not easy and I am thankful for their contributions. We are moving forward with a more nimble structure that supports our current business needs and allows for faster execution so we can better serve creative entrepreneurs around the world.”

The headcount reductions will include primarily marketing, product management, and general & administrative positions. The majority of eliminated positions will be in our Brooklyn headquarters, but we will also streamline operations in our global offices. We remain committed to leveraging our scalable model in order to support sellers around the world and pursue global growth opportunities. Within marketing, we remain focused on buyer acquisition initiatives, but are pausing brand marketing initiatives for the remainder of 2017.

We expect to incur employee severance charges and other exit costs of $6.0 million to $8.8 million related to today’s announcements. This is in addition to approximately $6.5 million to $8 million of severance charges and other exit costs we now expect to incur for the reductions announced in May.

About Etsy
Etsy operates markets where millions of people around the world connect, both online and offline, to make, sell and buy unique goods. Etsy also offers a wide range of seller services and tools that help creative entrepreneurs start, grow and manage their businesses. The Etsy community includes creative entrepreneurs who sell on our platform, thoughtful consumers looking to buy unique goods in our marketplace, retailers and manufacturers who partner with Etsy sellers to help them grow their businesses and Etsy employees who maintain our platform and nurture our ecosystem. Our mission is to reimagine commerce in ways that build a more fulfilling and lasting world, and we’re committed to using the power of business to strengthen communities and empower people.

Etsy was founded in 2005 and is headquartered in Brooklyn, New York.

SOURCE: Etsy Press Release

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Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to

6 thoughts on “Etsy Lays Off Workers and Suspends Brand Marketing”

  1. Heavens to Etsy!

    When they brought in an investment guy to run things that has no eCommerce experience, this was the death blow.

    By his comments of “headcount” when describing their workforce, this is evidence that the CEO is a hatchet man, and this company is preparing to be sold. Numbers, not people, are all that matters.

    Most of the folks who make their own artisan merchandise have moved on to their own websites. And freed themselves from the shackles of these money-sucking EC companies.

    Besides, a great deal of the goods offered now are embellished made in China items. Smart consumers can see right through this. The time and place for this site’s usefulness have passed.

  2. Many EcommerceBytes posters saw this coming before me, but:

    Regarding paragraphs 1-7 of 7: What? Why all the corporate double speak, ALL THE TIME? Most of the people that really understand this speech, work on Wall Street, and probably have glazed eyes . (Duh, I get it now, he thought he was talking to us bumpkins).

    The Etsy community would be best served, by a MAJOR overhaul of the dozens of issues posted on forums. So, instead of the newly minted style of Trending Corporate Speak, Here’s a “Scalable Model” to use. Our benevolent leader might say: “This will make Etsy great again”. Walmart calls it “RollBack”. Etsy needs policy and code rollbacks.

    In case new management doesn’t know it, Etsy USED TO WORK. No, NOT GREAT, but only because of BAD management. It’s BAD management that either allows BAD ideas, or creates them. Etsy really was on the very verge of blasting a real hole in Ebay, or so all us challenged folk thought. Till we re-thunk all the phony resellers, and why they were allowed to stay. They were in fact, GIVEN A ROAD MAP, of how to meet the NEW, Etsy FAKE handmade guidelines. How many of us customers (Sellers) believed that it would get fixed? Lots. It some of us a while to put it all together, but then we’re slow. And besides, we kinda trusted Etsy. Etsy was NOT Ebay.

    But much, much worse, I think is that Etsy is part and party to a huge, RIPOFF, of consumers all over the world. These consumers, know what handmade means, and that is not what is buried in the Etsy TOS, legalizing resellers. There’s NO excuse for this, not even “STAKEHOLDERS”!!!

    Is it Etsy’s contention?… that a consumer should read the TOS?… as it applies to a seller?…, in order to determine if the item is what is COMMONLY known as handmade?… by BILLIONS of people?……………COME ON!!!!!!

    Etsy is in direct conflict with even the simplest understanding of handmade. Is this what corporate governance and responsibility has come to? Instead of ramping up TRUE handmade, this speech is just more justification, for more resellers.

    And incidentally, the “enhancing search and discovery” statement is just plain offensive. Instead, “FIX SEARCH” so that someone can find what they are looking for. Heck roll it back, after all, it used to WORK!!!!!! And save the “discovery” part for silly promotions to consumers.

    ▼——— NEW ROAD MAP HERE ———▼
    2) FIX SEARCH (no good UNLESS #1 is accomplished)
    10) GET SOME VINTAGE CATEGORIES. EBAY HAS OVER 8,000. (It’s not hard)

    Oh, and just to repeat:
    The Etsy community would be best served, by …………see all of above….., therefore:
    If Etsy doesn’t get fixed, they won’t have any NON-FAKE handmade OR vintage items, AND
    When that REALLY gets out, they will LOSE the consumers.
    That will negate the aforementioned “highest-growth opportunities in order to deliver value to its stakeholders”, (no mention of the sellers here), and tank the stock for good.
    What color is Mr Silverman’s parachute?

    Oh, and thanks Etsy, for eliminating 140 more workers, instead of RETRAINING, reassigning, and possibly modifying a whole lot of salaries including that of the CEO. Where’s the creativeness in that? Now how do you expect to fix Etsy? Answer: No workers at all, Only large and foreign sellers, More stupid and worthless algorithms, Higher profits (finally), And one more company on the dotcom heap. This time, more of us see it coming. NICE WORK.

  3. Oh, And raise the price to a quarter. If Etsy EVER WORKS again, .20 is too cheap. I can’t believe I said that. But actually I’ve have said for YEARS that .20 was too cheap. We need more service than .20 can provide.

    But NOT under your current ROAD MAP. That is a freeway pile-up waiting to happen. And as my Grandfather would say, “Not Worth A
    “Plug Nickel”.

    1. $0.20 per listing every 3 months….and you need to maintain at least 60 listings to be found, plus, you now share your page with items of possible interest from other shops…plus transaction fees…….I believe $0.20 is enough. You need to consider the cost of each product that is selling. If an item is selling for $100, and the listing fee is $0.20, that’s different than if someone is selling a pair of earrings or a necklace for $12.00. Most sellers have not done an analysis on exactly what their total costs over time were to sell a particular item. They’re too busy trying to create,list & fill orders, answer convos, order supplies,etc.

      But as for the layoffs–oh yeah, it always helps reduce your bottom line when you lay off the lowest paid workers.

  4. NPR Radio Tonight:

    Starting to stink, something hit the fan. The word starts to get out. Wall Street has noticed.

    Then again, One of the last comments was about “the new activist stockholders” wanting it fixed back to the old Etsy,” HAHAHAHAHAHAHA. That does NOT SQUARE with the speech above. Etsy just fired more staff, to fix the problem!!! That’ll get them about a $1,000.00 profit. And just exactly WHO is dumb enough to believe that the Wall Street Stakeholders, REALLY care about handmade?

    They care that the STOCK WENT DOWN!!!

  5. I cannot disagree with the comments above. Etsy was a unique community which has been ruined by corporate greed and corruption.

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